clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clemson contains Lamar Jackson, defeats Louisville on the road

The Tigers go on the road and get a statement win.

Clemson v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The No. 3 Clemson Tigers passed a big road test by defeating the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals 47-21 on Saturday night. Although the Tigers were favored by a score, reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was expected to pose much more a challenge to Clemson’s defense.

But the unit contained Louisville’s QB well. He finished having thrown for 317 yards and three touchdowns, and he had a pick-six in the third quarter to give Clemson a 33-7 lead that essentially put the game out of grasp. He rushed for just 64 yards on the night, and was sacked four times. These numbers aren’t all that bad, but Louisville failed to consistently get into Clemson territory until the second half, mostly.

Clemson’s offense, on the other hand, came out firing on all cylinders under junior quarterback Kelly Bryant. Deshaun Watson’s successor threw for 316 yards and a touchdown, and he rushed for two more scores, prompting Watson to give Bryant some high praise.

Ray-Ray McCloud 115 yards receiving and a TD catch, too.

This is a big win for the Tigers, but they still have to get past Virginia Tech, Florida State, and South Carolina this season. But with Clemson’s well-tuned offense and vaunted defense, the Tigers’ season looks quite manageable after this win. For Louisville, Jackson’s performance was obviously toned down from what we’re used to seeing from him, but I have no doubts he’ll be missing on any highlight reels this season.

Clemson 47, Louisville 21 (6:13 4Q): True freshman running back Travis Etienne adds on to the Tigers’ lead with a nice 81-yard score.

Clemson 40, Louisville 21 (7:37 4Q): Touchdown throw from Jackson, likely too little too late for Louisville though, at this point.

Clemson 40, Louisville 14 (11:56 4Q): Welp, this one’s over. Clemson running back Adam Choice scores a 39-yard rushing touchdown to cap off a a 4-play, 79-yard scoring drive.

Clemson 33, Louisville 14 (13:45 4Q): Jackson finds a wide open receiver in the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown pass to give the Cardinals some life.

Clemson 33, Louisville 7 (14:00 4Q): According to Chris Fowler, Louisville’s only had three plays inside Clemson territory tonight. That number’s going up on this drive.

Clemson 33, Louisville 7 (End of third quarter): Lamar Jackson’s driving the offense a bit here, 1st down at Clemson’s 46 as we enter the fourth. Still a long way to go.

Clemson 33, Louisville 7 (2:16 3Q): Kelly Bryant takes it into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run. Well, this one looks like it’s over barring a major Louisville comeback.

Clemson 26, Louisville 7 (8:12 3Q): Lamar Jackson gets sacked as he tries to scramble on third down. Cardinals will punt.

Clemson 26, Louisville 7 (8:57 3Q): Oh no. Lamar Jackson throws a pick-six, giving the Tigers an even bigger lead. Aaaand welp:

Clemson 19, Louisville 7 (9:53 3Q): Jackson breaks loose for a big run, but it’s called back for an illegal block, and gives the Cardinals first and 25. Would’ve been a huge first play deep in Clemson territory.

Clemson 19, Louisville 7 (11:29 3Q): Louisville’s defense sacks Kelly Bryant on third down, and the Tigers punt into the end zone.

Clemson 19, Louisville 7 (13:42 3Q): Clemson gets the ball first, and the Tigers get three first downs early in the drive.

ANGRY BOBBY PETRINOOOOO

Clemson 19, Louisville 7 (Halftime): Louisville heads to the locker room down 19-7. Here are the offensive halftime stats:

Clemson 19, Louisville 7 (00:28 2Q): Heugel gives the Tigers more of a lead with a 49-yard field goal.

Clemson 16, Louisville 7 (00:55 2Q): Kelly Bryant finds Ray-Ray McCloud in the end zone that would’ve been a 38-yard score for Clemson, but they’ll replay the down thanks to two offsetting penalties.

Clemson 16, Louisville 7 (1:28 2Q): Clemson gets a first down from its 31, thanks to Ray-Ray McCloud stretching the ball over the marker. Play was originally called short, and Bobby Petrino is not happy with the ref on the sidelines.

Clemson 16, Louisville 7 (3:30 2Q): Lamar Jackson and his receivers can’t get on the same page tonight. Cardinals punt after a 3rd and 10 incomplete throw.

Clemson 16, Louisville 7 (4:05 2Q): Kelly Bryant hits Ray-Ray McCloud for a beautiful 79-yard touchdown pass. Tigers up nine now, extra point is blocked.

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ get-back guy is working overtime tonight.

Clemson 10, Louisville 7 (6:35 2Q): On third and 18, Lamar Jackson’s pass is incomplete, forcing a punt, which is downed at Clemson’s 10.

Clemson 10, Louisville 7 (6:35 2Q): Louisville gets called for holding. Still waiting for that big moment from this unit tonight.

Clemson 10, Louisville 7 (6:51 2Q): Louisville’s offense will take over from their own 21.

Clemson 10, Louisville 7 (6:57 2Q): On third down, Louisville’s defense reads Kelly Bryant’s keeper perfectly, stopping him short of the first. Clemson’s 31-yard FG gives the Tigers the lead, though.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (9:25 2Q): Kelly rushes up the middle for a first down, is taken down at Louisville’s 22.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (10:39 2Q): On third down, Clemson blitzes Jackson and he has to just throw it away. Punt coming. Here’s how both offenses have fared so far:

Add another record to Lamar Jackson’s career.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (11:57 2Q): The Tigers’ 42-yard field goal attempt is no good. Was originally a 47-yarder, until Louisville’s defense got called offsides.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (12:50 2Q): First down Tigers on Louisville’s 30, but Bryant gets shoved out of bounds at the 36 on the next play.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (14:50 2Q): Kelly Bryant and his offense with nice field position following a Louisville punt, starting at the 40.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (End of the 1st quarter): Jackson scrambles to try and make something happen with his legs, but Clemson’s defense brings him down in the backfield.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (1:00 1Q): Clemson’s punter Will Spier has had a nice couple of punts in the first quarter.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (1:25 1Q): Kelly Bryant goes deep for Deon Cain downfield, but it’s broken up nicely by his defender. Bryant overthrows his receiver on third down, and the Tigers now have to punt.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (4:14 1Q): Oh no, Clemson’s punt return man drops the ball as he runs out of the end zone, but he ends up with it. Tigers will start from their own 9.

Clemson 7, Louisville 7 (4:22 1Q): After Muse left the game from his targeting penalty, the Tigers’ defense looked a bit confused. Lamar Jackson throws a touchdown pass, all tied up.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (4:43 1Q): Clemson’s Tanner Muse called for targeting for his hit on Jackson. Looked like he led with the crown of his helmet. Officials review it and it stands, sending Muse to the locker room for the rest of the game.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (4:43 1Q): Lamar Jackson’s first completion goes 19 yards for another first down, nice run from Malik WIlliams, the receiver on the catch.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (5:05 1Q): After review, officials say Lamar Jackson stepped out at the 50 yard line on his 38-yard rush, still first down from there.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (6:15 1Q): Lamar Jackson has started tonight 0-for-4 passing, but he rushes around the left end for a first down. On the very next play, he keeps it again and rushes 38 yards for another first. Nice couple of plays for him.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (7:11 1Q): On third and 9, Louisville’s defense gets to Kelly Bryant and sacks him. Tigers punt goes 64 yards to the Louisville 5-yard line where Lamar Jackson will take over.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (7:44 1Q): Clemson faced with a third and 5, and Kelly Bryant finds a receiver in the middle of the field for a first down. Nice throw from the junior.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (9:02 1Q): Louisville offense a little shaky on these first couple drives. 3rd and 8 results in an incomplete pass. Two back-to-back three-and-outs for Lamar Jackson and his offense.

Clemson 7, Louisville 0 (9:45 1Q): Touchdown Tigers on a Kelly Bryant keeper. Caps off a 10-play, 79-yard drive.

Clemson 0, Louisville 0 (10:11 1Q): Fuller up the middle for a Clemson first down. Tigers knocking on the door now.

Clemson 0, Louisville 0 (10:30 1Q): Kelly Bryant on the keeper on third down, and he’s short of the marker. Tigers will go for it on fourth down.

Clemson 0, Louisville 0 (13:20 1Q): Clemson QB Kelly Bryant finds Hunter Renfrow downfield for a long throw good for a first down. Tigers are in Louisville territory now.

Clemson 0, Louisville 0 (13:40 1Q): On third and 8, Lamar Jackson keeps it and the refs signal a first down, but after review, they give him fourth and 1. Louisville punts it away.

Pregame: Papa John’s Stadium looks pretty good tonight.

Clemson passed a major test in Week 2 after bullying Auburn up and down the field in a 14-6 victory. Things won’t get much easier this Saturday, however. The Tigers will head to Kentucky for a top-15 showdown with Louisville, broadcast live on ABC starting at 8 p.m. ET (live stream).

Clemson’s quest to defend its 2016 national title got off to a hot start after sacking Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham 11 times to shut down the Tigers’ offense. On Saturday night, they’ll face an even tougher test when 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson lines up in the Louisville backfield with revenge on his mind; the Tigers handed the Cardinals one of only four losses last fall -- an early-season defeat that derailed the program’s national championship hopes and hype.

Time, TV channel, and streaming info

  • Time: 8 p.m. ET
  • Location: Papa John’s Stadium, Louisville, Ky.
  • TV: ABC
  • Streaming: WatchESPN
  • Odds: Clemson is favored by 3 points.

Clemson vs. Louisville news:

There were plenty of questions about Clemson coming into the season, but most of them were on offense. Nobody in their right mind could question the destructive nature of the team’s front seven, and it was on full display against Auburn.

Let’s roll sack-by-sack through the game and show how and why you should still fear Clemson’s defense.

We have a lot to fix on offense, but I’m reminded that Clemson struggled offensively against Auburn last year as well. DW struggled against Kevin Steele and his scheme. First Kelly Bryant didn’t turn the ball over or throw an interception. That is huge. He threw one ball late down low to Richard that was a poor decision, but other than that everything was safe.

Smith, who carried five times for eight yards in the season-opener against Purdue, suffered the injury during practice last Thursday.

Smith had been a contributor for Louisville during each of his first two seasons with the Cardinals. He carried 57 times for 382 yards and eight touchdowns in 2015, and 60 times for 270 yards and three scores a season ago.

“GameDay” also came to PJCS in week three a year ago. On that day, Louisville erupted for 63 points in a 63-20 thrashing of visiting second-ranked Florida State.

Does Lamar Jackson’s Heisman repeat campaign end here?

Clemson made Stidham look stupid last week, punishing him for holding on to the ball for even a split second longer than needed and driving him into the turf with impunity. Stidham, however, isn’t nearly as active as Jackson, who can negate the Tigers’ bull rush with his uncanny ability to scramble from the pocket. The 2016 Heisman winner ran for 1,852 yards last fall and 239 yards to start this season — but he’ll face the toughest test of his career against Dabo Swinney’s relentless defense.

Clemson vs. Louisville prediction:

Louisville’s offense isn’t a problem -- but its defense might be. The Cardinals allowed Purdue to put up 28 points in their season opener before North Carolina rolled up 35 more in Week 2. Expect Clemson to take advantage of that weakness while doing just enough from keeping Jackson from burning them to cinders. The defending champions win this one in a slugfest.